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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

A PERIOD OF  TRANSITION
97
had been thek attempt to snatch at an independence which, if they could have obtained it, they would have been quite unable to preserve, and he became a genuine and staunch convert to British influence, whilst remaining a frank critic of our shortcomings as he saw them. After a time he had accepted a judgeship in a Mahomedan court and risen in 1899 to the position of Grand Mufti, in which he exerted for a time a great and liberalising influence on the teachers and students of El Azhar. His death in 1905 was a serious loss to sober Egyptian Nationalism and to the progressive school of Mahomedan thought.
Though Lord Cromer had reached an age at which most people, and especially those who have long enjoyed almost undisputed authority, are apt to resent the intrusion of new ideas and new men, he knew the older generation of Egyptians too well not to realise that, if it was ever to become possible for the Egyptians to work out their own salvation, the only hope lay in the younger generation, and that amongst them there were elements of considerable promise whose co-operation he was not too proud to seek against both reactionary and revolutionary forces which he was too wise to underrate. The reactionary forces at least had been gathering strength at Yildiz Kiosk on the Bosphorus and in the Palace in Cairo, and he was quite aware that they were only waiting for his departure from Egypt to become more actively aggressive. He felt, as he had perhaps never done in earlier years, that in the new " politically minded" Egypt that had grown up around him the great work he had done lacked the support of some organised party whose programme, as he said in the last Report penned by him from Cairo, should involve " not opposition to, but co-operation with Europeans in the introduction of Western civilisation into their country." He hoped he had found it in the moderate group of Nationalists whose evolution he had watched with interest and sympathy. It may at first sight seempremature and misdirected ' that makes for man's salvation in a future life, but also as a social system